Digital Technology Development Awards (Climate-Sensitive Infectious Disease Modelling)

This one-off call provides funding for software developers from any career stage and discipline to develop digital tools that will improve climate-sensitive infectious disease modelling. By the end of the award, successful applicants will have delivered a piece of open-source digital technology that will increase the impact of research in addressing this threat to health.

Call at a glance

Where your host organisation is based: Anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China)

Level of funding: Up to £500,000 for research expenses, including salaries

Duration of funding: Up to 5 years. We expect development of the tool to take place in the early part of the award. Later years will be used for maintenance of the software.

Next key date

Application deadline: 31 March 2022, 17:00 (BST)

View all key dates

Eligibility and suitability

About you

You can apply as an individual or as a team.

You or your team must have:

  • a background or experience of working in any field of science and health relevant to infectious diseases and/or the impacts of climate change on human health

and

  • an idea for a novel piece of digital technology to improve modelling at the intersection of these two fields.

You do not need to be from an information technology (IT) background to apply. Where the term ‘software developer’ is used, we include any individual who has experience of creating software-based tools and technologies.

You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and experience of open-source software development (see assessment criteria below for more details).

During the award we expect you to:

  • design and deliver an open-source digital tool for climate-sensitive infectious disease modelling. We recognise that the tool or resource might require foundational methodological work to be carried out prior to being built and we will consider applications that have a substantial methodological development component. There are no restrictions on which programming languages must be used.
  • build a collaborative community of practice around your outputs, and/or integrate the outputs into a pre-existing community of practice
  • evaluate the impact of your contribution, for example using the CHAOSS metrics (or any other suitable set of metrics)
  • be an ambassador for open computational science and promote a positive and inclusive culture.

Career stage and experience

At the point you submit your application, you must have:

  • evidence of research training, and
  • experience in open-source software development.

If you are applying as part of a team, you must demonstrate that both of these attributes are represented in your group.

You can apply at any career stage. The lead applicant must be able to dedicate at least 10% of their time annually to the project.

You can apply if you’ve spent time away from formal employment (for example a career break, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave). We’ll take this into consideration when we review your application.

Your experience and that of your co-applicants and named contributors will be assessed in the context of the proposed work.

You should be able to demonstrate:

  • a good understanding of research methodology and the role of software tools in it
  • evidence of software development project delivery
  • knowledge and experience in managing an open-source project and associated community of practice.

In your application, you should provide details of your contributions both within the formal academic landscape (for example papers, citable codebases), and outside of it (for example, professional experience of software development, deployment, and maintenance).

By the end of the award, you should have developed a piece of sustainable, open-source, digital technology that advances the field of climate-sensitive infectious disease modelling.

Host organisation

You must be based at an eligible host organisation anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China). 

It can be a:

  • higher education institution
  • research institute
  • non-academic healthcare organisation
  • not-for-profit organisation.

You should choose an environment that provides you with the appropriate training, resources and experience to deliver your project and develop your own skills and identity.

About your proposal

We will review your research proposal, skills and experience, strategic alignment and fit to scope, along with commitment to equity and sustainability.

Your research proposal must be:

  • Bold. It aims to deliver a significant advance over existing methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques. It has the potential to stimulate new and innovative research.
  • Impact-driven. Your proposal is informed by a robust understanding of the community it addresses, and clearly articulates their needs. The proposal must include a clear plan for evaluating the impact of the project’s outputs.
  • High quality. Your proposed approach shows a commitment to best practice in open-source software development and is supported by evidence that the proposed outputs are feasible and sustainable.

Strategic alignment and fit to scope

We will review the strategic alignment with Wellcome’s ambitions in climate and health and infectious diseases. You must engage with each of the following key points from the strategies when writing your application:

  • These health challenges are global, but they do not pose an equal threat to everyone. The communities most affected by these challenges must be involved in building any potential solutions.
  • Infectious disease: You should focus on ‘escalating threats’ such as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, drug-resistant infections and future epidemics. Escalating has different connotations in different settings. We will look for evidence of engagement with this idea, for example through the creation of a multi-hazard relevant technology, a deep understanding of a local context, or any other relevant approach.
  • Climate and health: You should focus on the urgency of the challenge posed by climate change and our call for immediate action. Proposals that clearly describe or include case studies that illustrate a short path to improved, climate-relevant research and better-informed actions because of the proposed technology will be prioritised.

We will also assess your proposal’s relevance to the scope of the call. Data collection justified as necessary for development or validation of a piece of technology will be considered but should represent less than 30% of the total grant value. 

For example, hypothesis-driven data collection without accompanying software development would be out of scope, but a tool to improve data collection necessary for improving modelling with a small feasibility testing component would be within scope. Similarly, implementation of an early warning system (EWS) would be out of scope, but a generic suite of visualisations for EWS developers, that has been co-developed with policymakers to ensure outputs are easily understandable and provide actionable intelligence, would be within scope.

We’ll look for evidence that you are prepared to address any challenges around combining infectious diseases data with climate data, such as data quality, spatial and temporal scales, and lack of representation.

Your skills and experience

We will review:

  • evidence of commitment to robust open-source development and adequate software development resourcing
  • candidate eligibility, for example, adequate evidence of an employment contract for the full duration of the grant
  • subject matter expertise: this will be assessed based on your previous outputs and contributions (as well as those of any co-applicants) to the relevant landscape, including but not limited to infectious disease modelling and/or climate and health modelling
  • digital technology development expertise: this will be assessed based on any previous software development you and any co-applicants have carried out. We will look for evidence of successfully delivered open-source projects and knowledge of open-source community management best practices.

Evidence of these areas of expertise is not limited to publications. You should be creative in what you choose to reference to support your application.

Equity and sustainability

We will review:

  • how you identify and address potential issues of digital equity in your programme of work
  • how you will embed sustainability into your proposed digital technology, including the profile for the maintenance-type support requested in the later years of the award. For example, you might transition to a smaller number of salaried contributors or decreased contribution from specific team members.
  • which parts of code you will make available and how, to maximise the chances of re-use.

If you are awarded this grant

You will also be expected to agree to our open-source grant conditions [PDF 94KB].

Who can’t apply

  • You can be an applicant on a maximum of two applications to this funding call. This limit is reduced to one if:
    • you are the lead applicant on one of those applications, or
    • you currently hold an active Wellcome grant.
  • You cannot apply if you intend to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China. 

What’s expected of your host organisation

You must be based at an eligible organisation that can sign up to our grant conditions.

We expect organisations based in the UK to meet the responsibilities required by the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers for institutions, managers and researchers.

Any organisation with Wellcome funding that is based outside the UK is expected, at a minimum, to follow the principles of the Concordat.

We also expect your host organisation to:

  • give you, and any staff employed on the grant, 10 days a year (pro rata if part-time) to undertake training and continuing professional development (CPD) in line with the Concordat. This should include the responsible conduct of research, research leadership, people management, diversity and inclusion, and the promotion of a healthy research culture.
  • provide a system of onboarding, embedding and planning for you when you start the award
  • provide you with the status and benefits of other staff of similar seniority.

If your host organisation is a core-funded research organisation, this Award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

What we offer

A Wellcome Digital Technology Development Award provides up to a maximum of £500,000 to cover research expenses, including salaries where required.

The award usually lasts for 5 years but may be shorter at the applicant’s discretion. Our goal is to support the initial maintenance years of tools that are created through the award.

You should ask for a level and duration of funding that’s justifiable for your proposed research. You must justify all costs within the costs section of your application.

  • a basic salary (determined by your host organisation)
  • relocation allowance
  • staff
  • continuing professional development and training
  • materials and consumables
  • equipment
  • access charges
  • overheads
  • travel and subsistence
  • overseas allowances
  • fieldwork expenses
  • inflation allowance
  • open access charges
  • clinical research costs
  • public engagement and patient involvement costs
  • contract research organisations
  • other costs
If your host organisation is in the UK and you have team members who will spend at least 50% of their working time contributing to the award, they may be eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa through the endorsed funder route.

What we don’t offer

See ‘Other costs’ for the costs we will and will not provide.

How to apply

1. Before you apply

Make sure you read everything on this page and this article.

You should read our report: Landscape mapping of software tools for climate-sensitive infectious disease modelling.

Get some tips to help you write your grant application.

You do not need to contact us before you write and submit your application.

2. Submit your application to the host organisation

Complete your application form on Grant Tracker.

View the sample application form [PDF 228KB].

Submit it to the authorised organisational approver at your host organisation for approval. Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to review and submit your application before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.

Get some guidance on using Grant Tracker.

3. Host organisation reviews your application and submits to Wellcome

Your application must be submitted by 31 March 2022, 17:00 (BST).

4. Shortlisting

Wellcome staff will review your application for eligibility, strategic alignment to Wellcome’s ambitions and relevance to the scope of the call. If shortlisted, your application will be sent for expert review. 

No feedback will be offered if your application is not shortlisted due to the quantity of applications that we expect to receive.

4. Written expert review

We’ll seek external written expert review on shortlisted applications. Expert reviewers will assess the competitiveness of the proposal, applicant and/or team, and equity and sustainability.

Reviewers will be chosen based on their expertise within the relevant research field and not on their level of seniority. 

Unattributed comments will be sent to you after the final funding decisions are made.

5. Panel

A panel will assess the proposals and expert review comments and make funding recommendations to Wellcome.

We will publish membership details in spring.

6. Funding decision

You will receive an email notification of the funding decision soon after the decision has been made.

7. Feedback

We will provide written feedback to all applicants who are shortlisted but are unsuccessful at the final decision stage.

Disabled applicants

If you are disabled or have a long-term health condition, we can support you with the application process. 

Key dates

ou must submit your application by 17:00 (BST) on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.

This will be the only funding round.

 

Contact

If you have a question about how to complete the application form using Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker, please contact our Grant Information Advisers: 

Send us a message

Phone us on(0)20 7611 5757

If you have a question about eligibility, what we offer or our funding remit, contact us at:

datascience.funding.call@wellcome.org

We do not answer questions about the scope or competitiveness of proposals.


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